Should You Outsource LinkedIn Lead Generation?

linkedin Dec 08, 2021
A sales pro's experience with LinkedIn outsourcing.

Every once in a while, someone asks if they can outsource their LinkedIn prospecting to me. I strongly recommend against outsourcing LinkedIn lead generation.

Three years ago, a client asked me to help them find a LinkedIn lead generation firm. I personally reviewed and interviewed 12 firms.

I've Tried Outsourcing LinkedIn

We selected one I thought was going to be amazing. The owner had extensive experience in my client’s target market. Their approach was the most human of the bunch (they don’t use bots). They wanted to work closely with us on the messaging. I have tremendous respect for the owner of that firm.

I worked really closely with that provider and the client to develop the messaging sequences (I’d been guiding their marketing strategy for 6 years).

I met with the provider weekly and sometimes semi-weekly to review results and help tweak their approach. We carefully segmented the target profiles and made sure the messaging was relevant to the target firm/persona (based on extensive buyer research).

Over the course of 6 months, they booked 5 meetings, 2-3 of which met my client’s marketing qualification criteria. They spent $21K to get one well-qualified lead, which never went any further than the first meeting.

My LinkedIn Outreach Compared to the Outsourced Firm

As a point of comparison, I was doing LinkedIn outreach for myself at that same time. I booked 125 meetings and got 27 qualified leads in that same 6 month period.

Once I showed them this comparison, I convinced the client to take this work in-house, and I helped them replicate what I was doing.

Outsourcing LinkedIn Lead Generation May Get You New Connections, But Not Much Else

Another client hired a LinkedIn lead generation firm considered to be one of the best in the business. My client worked with this firm for about a year. The lead gen firm got my client a lot of new connections, but only a tiny handful of meetings…none of which were qualified prospects. Most were vendors wanting to sell him something.

These lead gen firms can increase your connections on LinkedIn, but they really struggle to take it much further, and they tend to churn through clients pretty quickly. Generally, their client retention rate is about 3-6 months…about the length of their contracts.

Outsourcing Can Result in Embarrassing Mistakes

Another problem is with those 2nd degree connections who you actually know. My client (Mike) was golfing with a long-time customer and friend (Joe). When Joe got home from the golf game, he found a connection request from Mike: “Hi Joe, I see that you’re the CEO of Company X, I’d like to connect with you and get acquainted.”

This embarrassing situation is pretty much impossible to avoid when outsourcing. How was the LinkedIn firm supposed to know that Mike and Joe were friends and out golfing that day?

Outsourcing LinkedIn Prospecting Can Get You Banned from LinkedIn

Most importantly, outsourcing puts you at risk of having your account restricted by LinkedIn. Using a firm like this is an explicit violation of LinkedIn's terms of service. And if they catch you, they may ban you from the platform permanently. That could cripple someone's efforts not only to sell, but to find work in the future. It's just not worth it.

Want to Know How to Make LinkedIn Work for You?

If you’re considering outsourcing LinkedIn lead generation, talk to me first. I really believe your team could do this in-house far more effectively.

The LinkedIn Prospecting Accelerator will help you supercharge your effectiveness on LinkedIn through live group training and coaching with like-minded colleagues. Each session focuses on optimizing a particular skill to improve your effectiveness on LinkedIn. It is particularly beneficial for those who enjoy being part of a community and need accountability to stay on track.


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